Published: Monday, 19 November 2018 17:41
Written by Don Goulding
The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever. Psalms 28:8, 9 (NIV)
A godly father dug a well with his children and used it to teach them why Jesus came to earth.
“Kids, let’s play a game. See if you can find a way out of this hole. I’ll stand outside the pit and you must get up to where I am. The only rule is that you can’t touch the ladder.”
The children debated the problem. The oldest child suggested they stand on each other’s shoulders. This enterprise failed and they tumbled to the bottom of the hole. Next, the middle child said they should jump as high as possible and grab the edge of the hole. This didn’t work because no one could jump high enough.
After much arguing and frustration, the children wanted to give up. The father encouraged them to keep trying.
“I have an idea,” the youngest said. “Daddy please climb down the ladder and get in the hole with us.” The father complied. “Bend down, Daddy.” The father did so and the girl climbed onto her father’s back. “Now, go up the ladder.” As the father carried the little one out of the hole, her smile grew into a squeal. “There, I’m up where you are and I didn't touch the ladder.”
Everybody laughed and clapped.
“You see children, we were in a hole we dug by our sin. No amount of standing on the shoulders of the religious people who went before us or jumping on the legs of self-effort could get us out. The only way out of our sin was for Jesus to come into our hole, bend down so any child could climb on, and carry us back to our heavenly Father.
“That’s why Jesus came to earth.”
Prayer: Humble Savior, thank you for lowering yourself to carry me.
Published: Monday, 12 November 2018 17:52
Written by Don Goulding
The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. Psalms 116:5-7 (NIV)
I picked my way down a dirt path around bare trees in Northern California. The smell of decaying forest bit up to the sinuses. As I zipped my jacket the last inch against the cold, a foul spirit drove in from above and behind.
“You are a dirty sinner. Your idle fantasies and callous heart are anathema to God.”
I pushed my hands deeper into my pockets and hunched over. There was bitter truth in those realizations. My frailty in the face of God’s holiness left my soul in defenseless silence. I staggered to a halt.
There are two sides to this coin of truth. Both must be considered. I am a dirty sinner but I’m also completely forgiven. The message of Psalms 116 is stamped on the reverse side of the coin. The simplehearted who sorrow over their treachery are always forgiven because God’s mercy is more potent than our sin.
To brood over my failure is to deny the full sufficiency of Christ’s redemption. Alternatively, absorbing myself only in God’s forgiveness ignores my sinfulness. The coin of truth must be continually turned and both sides examined—my weakness on one side and God’s substitutionary grace on the other.
With both halves of the truth in my grasp, I straightened and walked on. My sigh of relief sent a cloud against the frosty air and my soul fell into the arms of grace.
Prayer: I am at rest once more for you, Lord, have been good to me.
Published: Monday, 05 November 2018 17:36
Written by Don Goulding
For the creation was subjected to futility - not willingly but because of God who subjected it - in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. Romans 8:20-21 (NETFull)
The nations will walk by its light and the kings of the earth will bring their grandeur into it [the new Jerusalem]. Its gates will never be closed during the day (and there will be no night there). They will bring the grandeur and the wealth of the nations into it … Revelation 21:24-26 (NETFull)
India is ground-zero in the global war between man and nature. Coconut palms wrestle with pollution while iridescent Kingfishers choke on human rubbish. Hives of auto-rickshaws belch exhaust and putrid rivers are smelled long before they are seen. Even still, the underlying beauty of the land and people shows through the grime of human fingerprints.
India is turquoise beaches and jungle-clad mountains. This is where radiant children and genius technicians live. But the struggle for life is more intense here. In North America and Europe, it’s easy to consider our ordered lives and accept the present earth as a permanent abode. In developing countries I can’t do that. Life too often loses in the struggle against death and so paradise will need a new home.
I long to see India after God re-makes her at the coming of the new heaven and new earth. I envision her mountains and streams in gleaming perfection. I smell the abundance of flowers and feel the spray of waterfalls. Indian Christians, brown and lovely in perfected spiritual bodies, will serve the Almighty Prince with no mark of sin or pain on them.
Next, I see these children of the Most High join with a sea of exotic, completed God-lovers from every culture embracing in the love-light of Jesus.
India will be restored into a flawless virgin bride stunning in her splendor. All the nations will join her as perfected sisters ready to offer their glory as a wedding gift to the ever-deserving Groom of Grooms.
Prayer: Mighty God, present us to Jesus, lands and humans alike, liberated and remade.